A couple of weeks ago I unexpectedly bumped into a friend casually wandering the neighbourhood on a weekday, when one would have expected them to be shaved and behind a desk. A much deserved promotion to a high-profile role on a Sunday has meant a 24 hour time shift in their week – they work till all hours on Saturdays, but get Monday off.
It’s a sign of how blasé I’ve become about my own working pattern, which allows me to adjust my local wandering to the weather and the opening times of cake shops, that my initial reactions was – ‘What a shame you get Monday off, Thursdays are so much more fun.’
Quite rightly my high-flying friend pointed out unbounded joy he was experiencing at having any weekday to himself, that if you have children, and even if you don’t, the weekend is no place for rest and relaxation. While us homeworking layabouts might take for granted having the place to ourselves during the week, those committed to an office move from weekday hubbub to weekend mayhem. A Monday off means the luxury of silence.
So from the privileged perspective of those who see the world every day and are around to bear witness to the nuances and subtle variations, what is the best day to have off?
Monday? My own prejudice against Monday is that you end up starting the week a day behind everyone else, there’s no one to play with because everyone is serious again, and the butcher and fishmonger are both closed, along with lots of smaller museums and galleries (but not the big ones any more).
Tuesday? A good nondescript sort of day. Too early in the week for anyone to be persuaded to have lunch with you though. And usually dominated by after school clubs and classes.
Wednesday? The last place I worked had a farmers’ market outside the Tube station on Wednesday’s and Fridays, with a stall selling what has since been voted (by TIme Out) the best coffee in London. A good reason to go to work on Wednesdays. Plus I’ve also noticed that some shops (and the public library) in more suburban areas still uphold the arcane tradition of a half day on Wednesdays, which is rather inconvenient.
Thursday? From the point of view of finishing projects, submitting reports, applying for jobs, ‘end of the week’ deadlines, etc, a terrible day to have off. But in terms of the world outside work, the party is just beginning.
Friday? Surely the king of days off? Sleep of the hangover from Thursday night, and steal a march on everyone else by being incredibly well prepared for the weekend. Local markets and weekend festivals get going on Fridays, and you can get out of town before the rush.
Saturday? An absolutely rubbish day off. In fact, there’s no ‘day off’ about it. The busiest day of the week, filled with swimming lessons,shopping, housework, washing, and lots of other tedious chores. There’s no lie in, no rest, only a G&T and Doctor Who to look forward to at the end of the day. With no party invites or all night raves to go to these days, most Saturday nights are spent in front of a computer anyway.
Sunday? On the plus side, everything is now open on Sundays. On the minus side, town is therefore packed. There’s also a subconscious obligation to do something bonding with friends and/or family, or carry out DIY, so you just feel guilty that you don’t. Much better to have work as an excuse.